Denis James Hart
|Archbishop Emeritus of Melbourne|
|Church||Roman Catholic Church|
|Appointed||22 June 2001|
|Installed||1 August 2001|
|Term ended||29 June 2018|
|Ordination||22 July 1967|
by Arthur Francis Fox
|Consecration||9 December 1997|
by George Pell
Denis James Hart
16 May 1941
|Residence||Saint Patrick's Cathedral|
|Motto||Constant in Faith|
Ordination history of
Denis James Hart
|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Grace or My Lord Archbishop|
Early years and background
Hart was born in East Melbourne, Victoria, the eldest of the three children of Kevin and Annie Hart. He was educated at St John's Marist Brothers in Hawthorn and Xavier College in Kew. He studied for the priesthood at Corpus Christi College from 1960 to 1967.
Ordained at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, in 1967, Hart served as a hospital chaplain, an assistant parish priest and then master of ceremonies at St Patrick's Cathedral. He supervised the preparation of the books used in worship, including the lectionary for Mass. He was liturgy director and assistant master of ceremonies for the 1986 papal visit to Australia. In 1987 Hart became a parish priest and in 1996 he became vicar general and moderator of the archdiocese's curia. He has served in the parishes of North Balwyn, North Richmond and West Brunswick. In 1997, he was consecrated a bishop and made an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. 
In 2001, Hart was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne, replacing George Pell who became the Archbishop of Sydney. On 29 June 2001, he received the pallium from Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square.
Within the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, he was a member of the permanent committee from 2002, chairman of the Bishops' Commission for Administration and Information (2002-2012), member of the Bishops' Commission for Liturgy (1998-2012) and vice president of the conference (2010-2012). He has been chair of the ad hoc committee for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross since 2010. In May 2012, he was elected president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for two years. He has been a member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy since 2003 and its vice president (2010-2014). He took part in the Oceania Synod and ad limina visits in 1998, 2004 and 2011. In 2007, Hart expressed that he was troubled by the remarks of St Patrick's Cathedral priest Geoff Baron.
During 2016, Hart urged schools to be sensitive and respectful to students who want to invite a same-sex date to school dance nights. "These are quite often emotional situations and it's very important that we always have respect for the dignity of the human being involved", he said when Fairfax asked for his response to a previously unreported case at the Academy of Mary Immaculate in Fitzroy.
He was appointed a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Hart requested a Melbourne parish priest stand down while the priest was investigated by civil authorities for allegedly violating child safety laws.
In 2009 during a court case, Hart was accused of having told a woman to "Go to hell, bitch" when she had knocked on his door in the middle of the night in 2004. On the ABC on 14 November 2013, Hart acknowledged making the comment, then immediately asserting that he always followed the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. He apologised for it and described it as unfortunate.
In May 2013, Hart appeared at a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse. He commented, in regard to why it took 18 years to have a priest laicised for sexually abusing children, "Better late than never."
- "Biography of Archbishop Denis J. Hart". Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. 2010. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- "Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne: Church in Melbourne, Australia Archbishop Biography". www.cam.org.au.
- Link text
- "Swearing priest suspended". 31 July 2007.
- Dobbin-Thomas, Marika (22 January 2016). "Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart gives green light to gay couples at Catholic school formals" – via The Age.
- "Rinunce e nomine". press.vatican.va.
- "Pope replaces Australian prelate who opposes sex abuse norm". uk.news.yahoo.com. 29 June 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
- "Parish priest stood down over child safety concerns". 12 June 2018.
- McKenzie, Nick (11 August 2009). "Sex abuse victim told to 'go to hell'". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- Lauder, Simon (11 August 2009). "Archbishop told abuse victim to 'go to hell': report". AM (ABC radio). Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- "Archbishop apologises for Catholic Church's handling of sexual abuse", Lateline, ABC website, 14 November 2013.
- "Better late than never", The Australian newspaper.
- "Why an archbishop and a priest wouldn't report a confession to police". ABC. 15 August 2017.